CAPE CORAL — Wicked Dolphin Distillery is answering the call for emergency supplies to combat COVID-19 and is now joined by Florida Crystals Corporation and Fort Myers Brewery in its efforts to produce and donate free hand and surface sanitizer to first responders, hospitals, nursing homes, food banks, animal shelters and members of the community.
Because supplies of hand sanitizer are extremely difficult to find, Wicked Dolphin, known in Florida as a leading and award-winning craft distillery, has switched gears to help meet the demand for personal safety and protection. The distillery is following the instructions of the World Health Organization and is using high-proof alcohol (144-180 proof) as well as the additional recommended active ingredients in its solution.
Wicked Dolphin President JoAnn Elardo said: “We wanted to do something big for our community, so we reached out to Florida Crystals, whose sugar we use in our award-winning rum, to see if they would be interested in donating sugar for an entirely different recipe. They agreed without hesitation. Making the volumes of sanitizer we are creating is a lot of work and time, and our distillery is not a huge manufacturing plant, so we also reached out to a great source: the beer community. Fort Myers Brewery jumped in and is helping us by making the wash at their brewery. We then transport it back to the distillery for distillation, mixing and bottling into the sanitizer. This is truly a huge effort, and it makes our whole team so proud to be a part of it.”
After joining the effort, Florida Crystals carried out a production run at its refinery in Palm Beach County to meet the volume and specification of dark brown sugar required by the distillery. The next day, the sugar company transported 42,500 pounds of donated sugar to Wicked Dolphin for the important COVID-19 emergency relief efforts.
Pepe Fanjul, Jr., executive vice president of family-owned Florida Crystals, said: “This pandemic has affected us all, and we want to do our part to help protect members of our community, especially the brave men and women of our first responders and the medical professionals whose efforts we count on each day to pull us through this crisis. We are proud to partner with Wicked Dolphin in this critical relief effort, and we thank them for their leadership role in supporting the community.”
Wicked Dolphin Distillery will be opening its doors on Saturday, May 2, at 10 a.m. to the public and donating the free hand and surface sanitizer to families in the community. They will have volunteers handing out four free bottles to each car that pulls up.
Larger gallons will continue to be donated to first responders and health care professionals throughout Southwest and Southeast Florida.
State Rep. Dane Eagle said: “JoAnn Elardo and her team at Wicked Dolphin represent the American spirit. She recognized the need in our community for hand sanitizer and immediately transformed her business to produce this product and donate it to those who need it most. I am grateful to Florida Crystals and their farmers for their willingness to step up and provide the product she needs. It is truly remarkable how our community is coming together for the greater good during these difficult times.”